How to set a water softener

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How to set a water softener
Water Softener System (Venice Kichura)

Water softeners are systems used to reduce hardness in water that is due to an excessive amount as iron, magnesium and calcium deposits. Failing to use a water softener can hinder cleaning with soaps and detergents, as well as result in clogged water pipes.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Salt pellets
  • Owner's manual

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  1. 1

    Understand how a water softener works. Through a process known as reverse osmosis (regeneration), a water softener exchanges excess chemical deposits that cause hard water (magnesium, calcium or iron). Because sodium chloride is used to treat the chemicals causing hard water, you need to stock up on salt pellets (sold in most home improvement stores). You can also use salt blocks, depending on your water softener. Add salt pellets to the resin tank about once a month.

  2. 2

    Check the owner's manual to set your particular water softener dials. First, know how much your resin tank can hold. If you're not sure, measure the height and diameter of the tank and then call your manufacturer who can give you the information.

  3. 3

    Know the degree of hardness in your water by getting your water tested. This is important because you could be using either excess salt or not enough salt in your system. Referring to your owner's manual, set the proper dial to the correct hardness level. Besides saving money on salt blocks, setting the dial according to degree of water hardness will also protect your underground water supply.

  4. 4

    Study controls and operations outlined in your owner's manual. As most filters are automatic, the controls are simple. Make sure your filter's clock is set correctly for time of day, because if the time is off, your filter will run at the wrong time, forcing it to go into a bypass mode and you'll be using unfiltered water. Set the Day Cycle Dial (that rotates counterclockwise) that checks how many times the filter will backwash within a 12-day cycle. The red pointer (stationary) notes the current day. Also, preset time of day for the water softener to go off.

  5. 5

    Set to bypass when watering outdoors. Again, refer to your owner's manual for specific instructions for your particular unit. The purpose of bypassing is to preserve treated water when you use water for watering plants and lawns outdoors.

Tips and warnings

  • Check the holding tank periodically to see if salt needs refilling.
  • Check to see how long your regeneration cycle lasts and be careful not to interrupt the regeneration cycle. This could result in salt in your water.

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